Icefish’s 60 million nests were found under Antarctica, they do not contain hemoglobin

Icefish's 60 million nests were found under Antarctica

In Antarctica, 60 million icefish nests have been discovered. These nests were discovered in the foothills of Antarctica’s Weddell Sea. Scientists were taken aback by the sheer number of these fish and their nests. Because no such large number of fish houses had ever been seen before. It is thought to be the world’s largest breeding ground for any fish.

On the German icebreaker ship RV Polarstern, Alfred Wegener Institute scientist Auten Purser was studying whale fishes in Antarctica. Then Lillian Boringer, one of his graduate students, noticed something strange in his camera feed. Otten was summoned to the bridge by him. Auton was surprised to see millions of icefish nests visible beneath the ship when he looked at the camera’s screen.

On the screen of the Ocean Floor Observation and Bathymetry System, Auton and Lillian were watching a live feed (OFOBS). The camera was mounted on the ship’s bottom. They both witnessed the icefish building its nest every 19 inches. This view covered an area of about 240 square kilometres, according to him. The camera was simply moving along with the icebreaker, filming these magnificent ancient fish. There were only icefish to be found.

Icefish nests in the ocean floor soil appeared to be bowl-shaped. The scientific name for these fish is notothenioid icefish (Neopagetopsis ionah). They are most commonly found in the very cold southern sea areas. These are the only vertebrates whose blood does not contain haemoglobin.

Icefish’s blood is white in colour due to a lack of haemoglobin in their blood. That is why they are also known as white blooded people. The next day, Auton said, he called the Alfred Wegener Institute to inform him of our findings. I sent them a link to the video. The institute then requested that we make more videos and conduct research. In order to amass as much data as possible.

Icefish usually build their nests in groups, according to Otten. At least 40 nests are built in one location. We discovered about 60 million nests when we walked around the 240 square kilometre area. No scientist on the planet had ever seen anything like it. At any given time, an icefish lays at least 1700 eggs.

The temperature in the areas where these fish were making their nests was 2 degrees Celsius warmer than in other sea areas, according to Auton. As a result, Auton and Lillian began researching how carbon moves through the ocean floor in this area. Also, what other kinds of animals coexist with these icefish?

The presence of very microscopic zooplanktons was discovered during the investigation. They are mostly found in the vicinity of nests. Where do fish lay their eggs? Zooplanktons are also eaten. Auton and Lillian, on the other hand, believe the fish have nested in a much larger area than they have explored. These researchers are planning to return to the Weddell Sea in April 2022 to study these icefish once more.

Auton and Lillian have left two cameras at the bottom of the ocean, which will continue to record these icefish, before leaving this area. Auten in Germany will continue to be able to watch their live feed. A report on the discovery of these fish was recently published in Current Biology.